The following is what the beginning of recovery from childhood sexual abuse looked like for me. I'm writing this so that others in the process of recovery can see a little of what it might be like for them.
This part of the story involves recovering repressed memories (I will call them "RM") of childhood sexual abuse, and as such it may be triggering for some. Some may not believe in RM. I'd like to speak to that.
Are RM real? I've struggled with the question of whether mine are. Sometimes I still do. The events I remembered are too extreme for even me to believe sometimes. I can tell you that what I remembered has never changed, or morphed into something else, or into involving someone else (with one exception noted below). I can also tell you that I didn't want them to be true. Who would? I had no intention of ever using them for any gain. I did send a letter to the Catholic Church, but I never asked for, nor received any money from them. I had no reason to lie about what I remembered. I never confronted anyone directly (not that that is a bad thing). I only wanted the pain to stop.
I can find no scientific evidence that explains RM. I have been to Psychotherapy Networker Symposia where evidence of brain scans showing that those with RM (and PTSD) have electrically isolated parts of the brain that can be reconnected to the rest of the brain using EMDR therapy (and less efficiently with traditional therapy), but I can find no papers online to verify that. Perhaps those journals don't post online. I just don't know.
There is, however, a great deal of empirical evidence that they exist, and therapists who assume their clients are telling the truth can make good progress with their clients.
Do you believe that RM exist? Before my experiences, I probably would have said no. After my experiences of the last twenty years, I know better now. Some people think that therapists plant RM in their patients. I don't know whether or not any therapists do, but I can tell you emphatically that mine did not. Quite the opposite. Colleen (more about here later) was very careful to make a safe place for me to do my work, but at no time did she suggest anything. In fact, almost NONE of these memories of events came back in any therapists office. They came back in lots of places (more on that later), but very few in the therapists office.
One other thing: there are two basic types of RM; memories of events, and memories of the emotions connected to those events. The two are quite distinct and don't usually surface at the same time. What usually came up for me in my therapists office were the latter.
The final issue is, why care whether or not other people's RM are real? I guess the crux of the matter is, to what do people with RM do with those memories when they remember? If it is strictly to heal, I see no reason there should be a controversy over them. If you have a broken leg, and waving a maple switch over the leg sets and heals the leg, and no one has any scientific evidence that proves this works, does that matter? The leg is healed. In that context, it only matters to the person with RM whether or not they are real. Your opinions are irrelevant.
If that person is using those memories to accuse others of deeds they remember, then it's dicier. While I've already diaried that I have direct physical evidence (letters and an eye witness account), and a lot of circumstantial evidence, that verify that at least two of my recovered RM are true, I won't be addressing this issue in this diary. I'm not a scientist, and I can't speak to that. I can only discuss my experiences. I will say, though, that If I find you trustworthy, I'll believe you.
And there is also the issue on whether or not you believe me when I say that those two memories were actually repressed. If you don't believe that, well there's nothing I can do about that, and you will be wasting your time (and possibly mine) if you continue to read. If you feel I have enough credibility to at least give me benefit of the doubt, then read on. You may find this diary instructive.
If you'd like to watch healing happen (as ugly as that can be), join me below fancy orange dream cloud.